The Case of the General’s Thumb
Translated by George Bird
Part of Melville International Crime
Le Carré meets Bulgakov in this international crime thriller by the author of the acclaimed Death and the Penguin.
The corpse of a distinguished general is found attached to an advertising balloon—and minus his thumb. Police Lieutenant Viktor Slutsky is sent in to investigate. So, too, is KGB officer Nik Tsensky. They begin their investigations unbeknownst to each other, but quickly find themselves mystified about developments caused by the other.
Thus begins a comedy of very dangerous errors as the two criss-cross Europe, Russia, and the Ukraine, catalysts in a bizarre battle between the Russian and Ukrainian secret services.
What ensues is simultaneously hilarious, tragic, and suspenseful, with a fascinating cast of characters who would seem absurd if they weren’t so compelling: a larger-than-life hitman, a deaf-and-dumb blonde, and a turtle. Then there’s the gun that shoots backwards . . .
And as the two faithful investigators find themselves to be pawns in a story of post-Soviet collapse, it becomes—as usual in the work of this modern Russian master—an inspiring tale of resilience against the dark forces of the day.